Archived Outdoors

Max Patch restrictions extended

Max Patch restrictions extended

Restrictions on use at Max Patch in the Pisgah National Forest will remain in effect through June 30, 2026, extending a two-year ban on certain activities instituted on July 1, 2021.

For the next three years, the iconic destination will be closed to overnight camping, campfires, groups larger than 10 people, animals, bicycles or off-trail use. The area will close an hour after sunset and reopen an hour before sunrise each day.  

The restrictions were put in place to protect the popular site and the health and safety of the public. Max Patch had incurred damage from user-created trails, litter, human waste and other negative impacts stemming from the large influx of people looking to get outdoors during the pandemic. Over the past two years, Max Patch has recovered to the point that some of the user-created trails have begun to heal. 

“In addition to the trails recovering, we have seen a large decrease in fire ring scars and litter across the bald,” said District Ranger Jen Barnhart. “We have also seen less congestion due to the reduced illegal parking in the area.” 

The Forest Service has been working with the Carolina Mountain Club, Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Spring Creek community members to educate, outreach and complete the needed restoration work. All parties will work now and, in the future, to monitor and communicate additional needed action to continue the restoration of Max Patch and to ensure the area remains a safe and enjoyable place for everyone to enjoy responsibly. 

For more information, call 828.689.9694. The new closure order is online at

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.